Hola darlings! [Sure hope what follows makes sense -- no guarantee because my proof-reading abilities, always "iffy" at best, sure aren't working tonight.]
I came, I saw, I - well, I got a draw! LOL! And it was a good draw too, I think, in R3. I had the white pieces against a 1300 player (I'm at 603). More about that later.
I took TWO photographs during the entire tournament -- of the outside of the building!
The photos above were meant to be the start of a photographic essay on the odessey of my trials and tribulations during Challenge XVIII. Geez Louise! Didn't even think to pull out the camera in the skittles room. I'm usually the photo-taking queen - snapping photos of everything in sight, including coffee carafes and errant score sheets and signs on restrooms and the errant butt-crack or two. But - not a PHOTO showed up on my antique Nikon this evening.
I'm too tired to check tonight, but I do believe there are a few photos of Ellen Wanek, Janet Ulrich and I on my camera, taken by a passer-by parent or player we asked to "shoot us, please" in the lobby of the hotel prior to the start of R1. Assuming those photographs do, in fact, exist and I didn't imagine the whole thing (reference my imaginary moves in R3, below), AND I don't look like the Bride of Freddy Krueger in them, I'll publish them tomorrow.
I stayed for R4. I already had a bad head-ache but I so wanted to see how it would turn out for everyone, and to see if I could press for a win (gasp!), a draw, or a game I would feel good about my effort despite a loss. Mistake. I should have just hung out in the skittles room during R4 and not played. But I didn't. I had the black pieces in R4 and for some reason, probably because I am just so perverse sometimes, I often manage to play better with the black pieces than with white. Maybe it's just because I try harder when I have the black pieces. So I thought I might have another "competitive" game, competitive by my lights, and entered the round with pounding temples and high hopes.
I am rather proud of how I played those first three rounds earlier today. No excuses, though, for crashing and burning in less than 10 moves in R4. How embarassing! As per usual, I did not see the checkmate coming AT ALL. Arrrggghhhh!
The best news on a personal level is that I never felt close to tears the entire time I was at Challenge XVIII, and I'm happy about that. I thought it might - could - happen. Brace yourselves-- and for those of you too young to appreciate true romanticism, or those of you who gag at the slightest hint of l'amour -- DO NOT READ WHAT FOLLOWS!
Last night I watched "Return to Me," on regular old t.v. (no cable or U-Verse in this house). I watched it 'cuz I had paid to watch it online some years before, in happier days when Mr. Don was still with us, and I was so touched by it. It is a wonderful romantic movie made in 2000, starring Minnie Driver and David Duchovny ("X-Files"), with a great supporting role of "Grandpa" played by Carroll O'Connor -- and I cried and cried and cried! Sobbed my butt off (I wish it had actually shed some pounds but, alas, it did not, according to the scale this morning). Oh yes, I know, how absolutely STOOPID of me to watch Such. A. Film. On. The. Eve. Of. The. Anniversary. Of. Mr. Don's. Death. Duh, Jan!
Okay - here's the transcendent part of this uber-emotional experience last night -- I had my patio door open to the temperate evening to let in fresh air while I was working at my dinette table (am I the only person on the planet who still calls that dining space between kitchen and family room a "dinette") and the t.v. playing in the family room, with one eye on the laptop screen and one eye on the t.v. (I have developed ambidexterous eyes over the years...). Then I started crying as the movie progressed, and then sobbing (loudly) during the happy and sad parts of the movie, and then the squirrels who are nesting in my back yard garden (many trees) started chiming in, too, with their cries, at about 10:30 p.m.
OH MY! Not kidding -- Quite a sob-fest. I didn't make a recording, though, to prove it to you, LOL! (I have no idea how to do that on my now 'ancient' Nikon Coolpix 5600 that has about 3 split seconds worth of recoding time, anyway). I'm laughing about it now, recounting it in this blog entry, and last night, I was laughing and crying about it at the same time. Those female squirrels who were "singing the blues" with me last night, some of them I've practically fed by hand with nuts since I was first able to entice them to come up to the patio door for a food offering (peanuts and in-shell hazelnuts).
Laugh or Cry! I didn't shed a tear today. I talked about Don with Ellen, and with Janet Ulrich, mom to the fabulous chessplayers Anne, Rachel and Susanna, and I was okay - not close to shedding a tear. I'm so happy to have finally met Janet Ulrich in person -- we had some long chats in the skittles room between rounds. Jim Ulrich, the head of the family, also played in Challenge XVIII.
About that draw in R3. OF COURSE I did a "Jan" and somehow managed to add one extra set of moves into the game, geez! I messed up the moves early -- on move 7. But fortunately Ellen and I were looking over my score sheet after the game with the intent of playing through the game to see where I might have done better, and we got to the strange moves early. I checked with Paul Kaye, the young man I had the W pieces against in R3, and we went through our score sheets. They agreed on the first 6 moves, disagreed on the 7th and 8th sets of moves. I had one more line of moves (29 versus Mr. Kaye's 28 in all) on my score sheet! After lines7-8 on my score sheet, and line 7 on Paul's sheet, we agreed on the rest of the moves.
After puzzling it over in the skittles room with Paul and Ellen, and as well as my fried and aching brain can figure out this evening, it looks like I wrote down a phantom move for my 7th move with white, wrote down my actual move with white under Paul's (black) move on line 7, wrote down another bogus move for me (white) on line 8, and recorded the correct move for Paul (Knight to d7) under black on line 8.
On my score sheet, from move 9 down, our notations match. This was line 8 on Paul's scoresheet. I'll scan it here tomorrow showing my notations and scribbles after consulting with Paul. See what you think.
HOW ON EARTH DOES THIS HAPPEN? No, I did NOT have my camera out or have to go to the bathroom (I am careful to always visit the Ladies' Room a few minutes before I seat myself for the ensuing round) and thus got distracted...
Of the three games I felt I played with my best effort, I was happy with them (in terms of thinking about my moves, not worrying about time on the clock but trying to think things through before making a move that looked good on the surface but was a death in a move or two, trying to plot out alternative strategies and "what-ifs," trying to make my pieces dance, and trying to make sure all my pieces were protected -- I have about a thousand years worth of work still to do on THAT). Game 4 - no tears shed. I disregarded my own intuition regarding my physical limitations to play, and I paid the price for it. Lesson learned. Over, and over, and over again... Hmmm. Well, I'm nothing if not persistent...
More tomorrow, or possily later this evening, because at last the pounding in my head and the pains in my temples and between my eyes is starting to decrease. Unfortunately, the only pain reliever that I can take while on Warfarin (Coumadin) -- blood thinner -- is Tylenol, and the only Tylenol I had in the house tonight was two sample capsules received in the mail, in April 1991. Holy Hathor! Talk about frugal, geez!